The 2011 crop season – from start to finish
What a long, strange trip this season has been for Mid-South farmers. The weather was simply bi-polar from the get go – washed away roads, whitecaps in the corn fields, desperate attempts to both repair and destroy levees, along with drought and hundreds of tornadoes.
As the flooding and weather moved from unpredictable to downright nutty, information-starved people flocked to the Internet for the latest news.
A record number of readers found our Web site, www.deltafarmpress.com, as water levels rose on the Mississippi River and floodwaters crept into the countryside. We posted images from our staff and readers, of the sand boils, backwater crawling over fields, the incredible high water around Cairo, Ill., and submerged equipment, buildings and dwellings. The drama deepened with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to open three floodways along the Mississippi River. As these events unfolded, the number of hits on our Web site exceeded 300,000 in May, an all-time record.
If you’d like to revisit any of our coverage, start here http://deltafarmpress.com/government/mississippi-river-rising-rosedale-miss-photo-gallery.
Another popular site was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Facebook page. Hundreds of people, if not more, kept up with the Corps’ plans and activity, often minute by minute.
Later in the spring, tornadoes had television weathermen across the Mid-South chomping at the bit to show off their latest gee-whiz gadgetry. There’s something strangely compelling about a technology that pinpoints exactly to the minute when a gigantic thunderstorm will erase your neighborhood.
Not to diminish the tragedy that occurs when these tornadoes and other weather events cause destruction and death, but weather fatigue eventually set in. In fact, I saw the television weather circus so many times this spring. I had just about decided to go down watching my favorite television show rather than find shelter at the behest of another breathless TV weatherman.
In the middle of the summer, a wave of heat and drought settled over the region, stressing dryland crops and forcing others to turn on the irrigation pumps early and often. On the other hand, the heat pushed Mid-South crops toward maturity.
Things started cooling down in September, shortly after a Tropical Storm Lee moseyed through the Mid-South. Now, as harvest season winds down, we have been blessed with a run of beautiful weather.
Reports from the field indicate that Mid-South crop yields are average to slightly below average, although dryland yields are suffering. Considering the season, average crops aren’t bad.
We can’t control the weather, but once again, Mid-South producers have managed to produce good yields in most crops. In just a few more days, most areas will be wrapping up harvest.